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Quick Facts

  • 400 - Minimum number of clock hours of supervised clinical experience required of master's degree students
  • ~2,000 - Number of children and adults served by clinical educators and students in 2015-16
  • ~700 - Number of preschool children screened for communication disorders in 2015-16
  • $35,000 - Donation made by Orlando Magic player Victor Oladipo to support the UCF Listening Center's mission
  • 10 - Number of counties served by FAAST's Atlantic Region Assistive Technology Demonstration Center

Mailing Address

Communication Disorders Clinic
College of Health and Public Affairs
University of Central Florida
3280 Progress Drive
Suites 500, 300
Orlando, FL 32826-2215

Phone: 407-882-0468
Fax: 407-882-0483

Swallowing Disorders

What are swallowing disorders?

Swallowing difficulties may occur as a result of neurological events such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and vocal cord paralysis or generalized weakness. Speech therapy focuses on the oral and pharyngeal stages of swallowing. Individuals with esophageal problems are usually referred to a gastroenterologist or otorhinolaryngologist. Symptoms related to swallowing disorders may include one or more of the following:

  • coughing or choking after eating or drinking
  • wet or gurgly vocal quality
  • weak cough reflex
  • weak voice
  • difficulty managing saliva
  • difficulty chewing or managing food in the mouth
  • multiple swallows to clear food
  • food or liquid coming out of the nose
  • weight loss related to poor food/fluid intake
  • frequent episodes of chest congestion or pneumonia
  • dehydration and/or frequent urinary tract infections

How can UCF help?

Clinical faculty members from the Communication Disorders Clinic, in conjunction with an otorhinolaryngologist (Ear Nose and Throat [ENT] physician), offer evaluations and treatment of oral and pharyngeal stage swallowing difficulties.

What is the evaluation procedure?

Comprehensive evaluations are conducted to determine the cause of the swallowing disorder. These evaluations include both instrumentation as well as observation.

Evaluations may include:

  • oral mechanism exam
  • bedside swallowing examination
  • FEES (Fiberoptic Endoscopic Exam)- FEES is an exam that evaluates the swallowing mechanism by passing a flexible fiberoptic endoscope into the back of the mouth to visualize the swallow as the client is fed foods of varying consistency. The speech-language pathologist, in conjunction, with the ENT physician, can observe the movement of food through the throat into the esophagus allowing diagnosis of swallowing disorders.

Clients who received an evaluation for swallowing at another location within the past three months should send the report along with the UCF case history form to the Communication Disorders Clinic.

In addition, clients need to send any relevant medical evaluations including radiological reports (neuroimaging). This will provide information useful in determining whether additional evaluation procedures need to be completed.

What type of treatment is provided?

The Communication Disorders Clinic offers comprehensive therapy services guided by evidence-based practices.

Treatment options include:

  • oral motor exercises for strengthening
  • thermal stimulation
  • diet recommendations and feeding techniques to promote safe swallow
  • patient and caregiver education and training for safe swallow protocol and recognition of signs and symptoms of aspiration

Frequency of therapy services ranges from once a week, multiple sessions a week and/or intensive therapy for six weeks. Therapy options will be discussed with each client after the completion of an evaluation.

Application Forms

 

Adult application form

Child application form

Resources

Mayo Clinic: Swallowing Problems
www.mayoclinic.org/swallowing-problems/

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: Pediatric Dysphagia
www.asha.org/Practice-Portal/Clinical-Topics/Pediatric-Dysphagia/

 

[The clinicians] really pay attention to the patient's needs.
— Spouse of "Jeff",  a stroke survivor
The clinic has helped him with reading comprehension and math problems. We've been very happy with the program.
— Mother of "Christopher",  a child diagnosed with a language delay at age four
As a caregiver, the [clinic's impact] has been tremendous.
— Spouse of "Romeo",  a stroke survivor
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